SUA brought acclaimed writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr. twice to campus as a speaker: the first time on Oct. 22, 1986 at Hoch Auditorium and the second time on Feb. 9, 1995 at the Lied Center. Vonnegut is known for writing satirical, political and black-humored novels such as “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle” and “Breakfast of Champions.”
When SUA had Vonnegut as a speaker during his second visit for $14,000, this event also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the publication of “Slaughterhouse-Five,” an anti-war novel that was once banned in schools but is now required reading in high schools and universities. A crowd of 2,200 people filled the seats of the Lied Center as they waited to hear Vonnegut’s lecture “How to Get a Job Like Mine.”
The 1995 SUA Forums Coordinator, Lauren Smith, shared some of the reactions people told her when they saw Vonnegut’s name on the list of potential speakers: “I was told by one student that even if it took all of SUA’s budget for the rest of the year, we should bring Vonnegut. I was told by another he would pay up to $100 for a ticket to a show. Several people told me that Mr. Vonnegut was their favorite author and that the lecture would be packed. From the turn out tonight, I can see they were right.”
When Vonnegut first gained critical acclaim, many in the audience were not born yet. However, because of his impactful novels, more generations remember and recognize the name Kurt Vonnegut.